A Perfect Strain
O BID the minstrel tune his harp,
by Isabella Valancy Crawford
And bid the minstrel sing;
And let it be a perfect strain
That round the hall shall ring:
A strain to throb in lady's heart,
To brim the warrior's soul,
As dew fills up the summer rose
And wine the lordly bowl!
O let the minstrel's voice ring clear,
His touch sweep gay and light;
Nor let his glittering tresses know
One streak of wintry white.
And let the light of ruddy June
Shine in his joyous eyes,
If he would wake the only strain
That never fully dies!
O what the strain that woos the knight
To turn from steed and lance,
The page to turn from hound and hawk,
The maid from lute and dance;
The potent strain, that nigh would draw
The hermit from his cave,
The dryad from the leafy oak,
The mermaid from the wave;
That almost might still charm the hawk
To drop the trembling dove?
O ruddy minstrel, tune thy harp,
And sing of Youthful Love!